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kottke.org posts about Tracy Chapman

“The Unspoken Racial Politics of ‘Fast Car’ at the Grammys”

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 07, 2024

Ooh, I’d been waiting for this — Tressie McMillan Cottom’s take on the Grammy performance of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs.

The cover is popular in a genre that has long been roiled by racial conflict. Over the past five years, artists and activists have tried to get mainstream Big Country to get with the multiracial program, but they have won little more than nominal, marginal inclusion rather than a reckoning with the industry’s soul. However lovely, Chapman’s and Combs’s performance ties too neat a bow on years of conflict within country music over who gets to play with the genre’s big boys.

Contrast that with articles like this one: A Rare Moment Americans Could All Share.

People across an angry and divided nation were given a magical, unifying moment on Sunday. We needed it.

“Ties too neat a bow” indeed. Maybe it’s the beginning of something but it sure doesn’t seem like the end of anything.

Update: If you’re on Bluesky, I recommend reading Cottom’s thread that answers a few questions that readers had.